Thursday’s class was all about canning and preserving food. This was one of the most interesting classes so far. The first half of class consisted of an intense overview of proper canning techniques. This was all new information to me; I have never canned anything before. A MSU extensions agent guided the class through all the important information we needed to know before we started. If canning is not done properly it can be deadly, botulism is a disease that grows in food that is not properly processed. There are two ways to can food, either with a pressure canner, or a water bath canner. A pressure canner is a great tool, it can destroy botulism spores by heating water hotter than 210 degrees, it can get up to 250. Water bath canning works well for high acidic foods because botulism won’t grow in an acidic environment.
The second half of class consisted of canning. First we made strawberry jam. The class was split into groups, each group used a jam recipe that required less sugar, then we taste tested each one. I preferred the jam my group cooked, it called for half the amount of sugar than the standard recipe. My group accidentally added lemon juice to out jam, but it ended up tasting great. Next we canned tomatoes, which was very easy. First we blanched the tomatoes so they were easy to peel. Then they were quartered and stuffed in cans. Finally we made pickles, also a very easy process. After the pickles are processed in the hot bath, they need to sit in their jars for a week, needles to say I cant wait to try them in class this coming Thursday.
I’m looking into purchasing a water bath canner pot and rack soon.